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GBBF fast approaches!

By thirsty hack Ignatius Rake

Posted July 30, 2015
the 2015 Great British Beer Festival starts on August 11
Fancy a pint? The GBBF in 2013 yesterday. © Ignatius Rake

Polish your drinking boots: the Great British Beer Festival starts in less than a fortnight.

In case you hadn't heard, the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) will be making a welcome return to London's Olympia this coming August 11-15.

Organised by the UK's Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the beer festival of beer festivals will see more than 900 real ales, ciders, perries and international brews on tap and in bottles, with over 350 British breweries represented across 27 different bars.

And that's not mentioning all the grub, pub games, entertainment and assorted merch stalls that will also be present.

But the GBBF isn't just a chance for the great British drinking public to get their mits on some right tasty tipples.

Oh no siree, Bob.

For it's also, in the words of a CAMRA press release, "the UK's flagship trade event for the beer and pub industry".

As such, day one of the event includes a trade and press only session between 12:00 and 17:00 local time prior to the doors opening to the general public.

What’s more, CAMRA reports that the number of licensees, brewers and members of the trade applying for trade session tickets is up 40% this year, with over 7,000 such attendees expected compared to 5,000 in 2014.

"As organisers we are constantly looking at ways to further improve the trade session of the GBBF for industry attendees, which is why this year we have introduced a trade-show area in the pillar hall where smaller exhibitors can promote their products or explain their services to potential future customers," says GBBF organiser Ian Hill.

"This will only be open during the trade session and has filled a gap in the event for companies other than breweries who want a presence at the festival, as well as being an area breweries attending the festival can promote their bottled beer or offer sampling."

Furthermore, the press release reveals, trade session sponsor Simply Hops, described by CAMRA as "the world's largest supplier of hop products and services", will also be running an hour-long Master Class in the said trade-show area.

Kicking off at 13:00, this will "allow members of the trade to explore the variety of hops" and services the company has to offer, providing attendees with "the opportunity to touch, taste and see the different varieties used in brewing and the chance to discover varieties members of the industry may not have heard of or used before".

Additionally, the trade session will also witness the crowning of CAMRA's Champion Beer of Britain, "with one lucky brewery having their beer named the 'best in Britain' following a full 12 months of rigorous competitions and taste tests".

But why would anyone want such an accolade?

Well, last year's winner, Timothy Taylor's 4% Boltmaker, "saw a huge jump in demand" from pubs after scooping the gong and "was even picked up for sale by Tesco's nationally – something this year's winner will be hoping to emulate".

The trade session will also see the Champion Bottled Beer of Britain being duly anointed, with competition sponsor and online beer seller Beer Hawk "producing a celebratory beer case containing 15 of the bottled finalists".

Better still, the Rake & Herald will also be in attendance as members of the press, giving all present a not-to-be-missed opportunity to buy us endless pints, packets of crisps and maybe even a sausage roll or two.

So see you there.

Just don't forget your wallet, eh?

See also GBBF starts tomorrow, posted 12/8/13, among others.

Ignatius Rake
is a freelance journalist, geographer and world traveller who has visited more than 70 countries on six continents. He has written on numerous subjects for various publications and is available for hire and commissions. He can be contacted by email here.

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